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The Best Memory Loss Movies 

Ranker Film
Updated July 13, 2020 2.2k votes 422 voters 51.7k views 45 items

List Rules Films in which characters experience memory loss, Alzheimer's disease, dementia, forgetfulness, or manipulated memories

List of the best memory loss movies, as ranked by film fans and movie critics. Films about memory loss are very popular and often critically acclaimed because, although most movie viewers don’t experience loss of memory, the themes are universal. Many of these films feature characters trying to find themselves, fix the unfixable people in their lives, or trying to relive moments that are gone forever. The characters of these films either had memory stealing car accidents or deal with dementia. In some cases they even had their memories stolen by malevolent forces.

What are the best memory loss movies ever made? The films here - all movies about memory loss - range from romantic comedies, like 50 First Dates and Overboard, to haunting thrillers, like Shutter Island and The Manchurian Candidate. A few of the films feature abstract depictions of amnesia, such as Memento and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Even Disney's animated films Finding Nemo and Finding Dory deal with characters suffering from short term memory loss. While most of the movies include a protagonist with amnesia, a few have main characters who are dealing with a loved one suffering from dementia.

This list features the best memory loss movies of all time, ranging from heartbreaking romances, like The Notebook, to hilarious gut-busters, like The Hangover.

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1
Memento is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano

Released: 2000

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Memento is a 2000 American neo-noir psychological thriller film directed by Christopher Nolan. The screenplay was written by Nolan based on his younger brother Jonathan Nolan's short story ...more

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#11 of 240 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #214 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #169 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys

2
Shutter Island is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Leonardo DiCaprio, Michelle Williams, Mark Ruffalo

Released: 2010

Directed by: Martin Scorsese

Shutter Island is a 2010 American psychological thriller film directed by Martin Scorsese. The film is based on Dennis Lehane's 2003 novel of the same name. Production started in March 2008. ...more

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#5 of 240 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #73 of 358 The Best Movies Based On Books #244 of 355 The Best Rainy Day Movies

3
Inception is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard

Released: 2010

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Inception is a 2010 science fiction thriller film written, produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan. The film stars a large ensemble cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Joseph ...more

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List of Movies Like Inception #9 of 240 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #29 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

4
Eternal Sunshine of the ... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Carrey

Released: 2004

Directed by: Michel Gondry

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a 2004 American romantic science-fiction comedy-drama film about an estranged couple who have each other erased from their memories, written by Charlie ...more

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The Most Memorable 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' Quotes #51 of 240 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

5
The Bourne Ultimatum is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, Brian Cox

Released: 2007

Directed by: Paul Greengrass

The Bourne Ultimatum is a 2007 American-German action spy thriller film directed by Paul Greengrass loosely based on the Robert Ludlum novel of the same title. The screenplay was written by Tony ...more

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The Best Characters in the Whole Jason Bourne Franchise, Ranked #312 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

6
50 First Dates is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Drew Barrymore, Adam Sandler, Dan Aykroyd

Released: 2004

Directed by: Peter Segal

50 First Dates is a 2004 American romantic comedy film directed by Peter Segal. Henry Roth (Adam Sandler) has a history of commitment issues until he meets Lucy (Drew Barrymore) who suffers from ...more

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50 First Dates Isn't Romantic - It's About A Guy Who Takes Advantage Of A Disabled Woman #363 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #145 of 922 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films

7
Total Recall is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside

Released: 1990

Directed by: Paul Verhoeven

Total Recall is a 1990 American science fiction action film directed by Paul Verhoeven. In 2084, a construction worker, Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger), suddenly finds himself embroiled in ...more

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Every Warning Sci-Fi Writer Philip K. Dick Gave Us About Technology That Is Coming True #137 of 358 The Best Movies Based On Books #115 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

8
Finding Nemo is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Ellen DeGeneres, Willem Dafoe, Eric Bana

Released: 2003

Directed by: Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich

Finding Nemo is a 2003 American computer-animated comedy-drama adventure film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Written and directed by Andrew Stanton, it ...more

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#19 of 568 The Best Animated Films Ever #97 of 922 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Filmslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

9
The Bourne Identity is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Matt Damon, Clive Owen, Julia Stiles

Released: 2002

Directed by: Doug Liman

The Bourne Identity is a 2002 American-German action spy film adaptation of Robert Ludlum's novel of the same name. It stars Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, a man suffering from extreme memory loss ...more

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The Best Characters in the Whole Jason Bourne Franchise, Ranked #102 of 358 The Best Movies Based On Books #285 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

10
The Notebook is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Rachel McAdams, Ryan Gosling, James Garner

Released: 2004

Directed by: Nick Cassavetes

The Notebook is a 2004 American romantic drama film directed by Nick Cassavetes and based on the novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks. The film stars Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams as a ...more

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These Quotes From 'The Notebook' Will Have You In Tears #118 of 358 The Best Movies Based On Books #249 of 560 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies

11
The Hangover is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Mike Tyson, Bradley Cooper, Heather Graham

Released: 2009

Directed by: Todd Phillips

The Hangover is a 2009 American comedy film, co-produced and directed by Todd Phillips and written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore. It is the first film of The Hangover trilogy. The film stars ...more

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#63 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys #10 of 922 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #31 of 1,137 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time

12
12 Monkeys is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis, Christopher Plummer

Released: 1995

Directed by: Terry Gilliam

12 Monkeys, also known as Twelve Monkeys, is a 1995 American science fiction film directed by Terry Gilliam, inspired by Chris Marker's 1962 short film La Jetée, and starring Bruce ...more

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Behind-The-Scenes Stories From '12 Monkeys' #27 of 240 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #126 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

13
Overboard is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Roddy McDowall

Released: 1987

Directed by: Garry Marshall

Overboard is a 1987 American romantic comedy film starring Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. It was directed by Garry Marshall, produced by Roddy McDowall, and loosely inspired by the 1974 Italian ...more

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#123 of 922 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #88 of 560 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #90 of 1,137 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time

14
While You Were Sleeping ... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Sandra Bullock, Monica Keena, Bill Pullman

Released: 1995

Directed by: Jon Turteltaub

While You Were Sleeping is a 1995 romantic comedy film directed by Jon Turteltaub and written by Daniel G. Sullivan and Frederic Lebow. It stars Sandra Bullock as Lucy, a Chicago Transit ...more

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#104 of 560 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #171 of 363 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #46 of 693 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made

15
The Bourne Supremacy is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, Michelle Monaghan

Released: 2004

Directed by: Paul Greengrass

The Bourne Supremacy is a 2004 American-German action and spy film starring Robert Ludlum's Jason Bourne character. Though it takes the name of the second Bourne novel, its plot is entirely ...more

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The Best Characters in the Whole Jason Bourne Franchise, Ranked #315 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #20 of 158 The Best Movie Sequels Ever Made

16
Finding Dory is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Hayden Rolence

Released: 2016

Directed by: Andrew Stanton

Finding Dory is a 2016 American 3D computer-animated comedy adventure film directed by Andrew Stanton, and a sequel to Finding Nemo. The friendly but forgetful blue tang fish, Dory (Ellen ...more

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#21 of 568 The Best Animated Films Ever #84 of 158 The Best Movie Sequels Ever Made #976 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies

17
Hancock is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Charlize Theron, Will Smith, Jason Bateman

Released: 2008

Directed by: Peter Berg

Hancock, formerly known as John Hancock and Tonight, He Comes, is an superhero film directed by Peter Berg and starring Will Smith, Jason Bateman and Charlize Theron. Will Smith portrays an old ...more

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#77 of 172 The Best Superhero Movies Ever Made #601 of 922 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #376 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies

18
The Manchurian Candidate... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Frank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury, Janet Leigh

Released: 1962

Directed by: John Frankenheimer

The Manchurian Candidate is a 1962 American Cold War suspense thriller directed by John Frankenheimer that stars Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey and Janet Leigh and co-stars Angela Lansbury, ...more

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#65 of 240 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #289 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #298 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys

19
Mulholland Drive is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Naomi Watts, Billy Ray Cyrus, Melissa George

Released: 2001

Directed by: David Lynch

Mulholland Drive is a 2001 American neo-noir mystery film written and directed by David Lynch and starring Naomi Watts, Laura Harring, and Justin Theroux. It tells the story of an aspiring ...more

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#66 of 240 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #424 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #623 of 784 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time

20
Regarding Henry is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Harrison Ford, Annette Bening, J.J. Abrams

Released: 1991

Directed by: Mike Nichols

Regarding Henry is a 1991 American film drama starring Harrison Ford and Annette Bening, directed by Mike Nichols. The screenplay by J. J. Abrams focuses on a New York City lawyer who struggles ...more
21
The Long Kiss Goodnight ... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
mikeville66 added Samuel L. Jackson, Geena Davis, Brian Cox

Released: 1996

Directed by: Renny Harlin

The Long Kiss Goodnight is a 1996 action film directed and produced by Renny Harlin, written and produced by Shane Black and starring Geena Davis and Samuel L. Jackson.

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#140 of 560 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #851 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #541 of 693 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made

22
The Vow is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum, Jessica Lange

Released: 2012

Directed by: Michael Sucsy

The Vow is a 2012 romantic drama film directed by Michael Sucsy, starring Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams. The film is inspired by the true story of Kim and Krickitt Carpenter. The Vow was a ...more
23
Relic is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Emily Mortimer, Robyn Nevin, Bella Heathcote

Released: 2020

Directed by: Natalie Erika James

Relic is a 2020 American-Australian horror film directed by Natalie Erika James. A daughter (Bella Heathcote), mother (Emily Mortimer), and grandmother ( Robyn Nevin) are haunted by a ...more

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#32 of 67 The Best Demonic Possession Movies #68 of 115 The Best New Horror Movies of the Last Few Years #80 of 148 The Best Movies Of 2020

24
Angel Heart is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
mikeville66 added Robert De Niro, Mickey Rourke, Lisa Bonet

Released: 1987

Directed by: Alan Parker

Angel Heart is a 1987 American horror mystery film written and directed by Alan Parker, and starring Mickey Rourke, Robert De Niro, and Lisa Bonet. The film, adapted from the novel Falling Angel ...more

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#453 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys #315 of 784 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #327 of 522 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked

25
Still Alice is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Kristen Stewart, Alec Baldwin, Julianne Moore

Released: 2015

Directed by: Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland

Still Alice is an upcoming 2015 drama film written by Lisa Genova and directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland.